SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - January 11, 2008

January 11, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: January 4-11, 2007           


  • Helping media evaluate the Benzir Bhutto assassination, public policy prof Doug McArthur wrote a guest column for The Vancouver Sun, saying in part: “The West, including Canada and the United States, must clearly commit to a democratic successor to Bhutto, and give Musharraf no choice about cooperating. While the choice may appear to be between dictators and democrats, it is equally about how to stabilize Pakistan and fight the war on terror.”

    McArthur was also in the Globe and Mail saying Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf “has played this great stunt of saying 'Only I, as a military dictator, can save you from Islamic extremists,' where in fact they were no significant threat to him.” McArthur was on Fairchild-TV, as well.

    Meanwhile, historian and internationalist Andre Gerolymatos was also in several media outlets. In a Vancouver Sun interview, for example, he said a destabilized Pakistan would help the Taliban thrive and could have serious implications for the region, including Canada's military mission. He was also in The Province and National Post and on Mike Smyth’s weekend show on CKNW.
  • The Globe and Mail reported on an unusually high number of avalanche deaths in Western Canada last month. Quoted was earth sciences prof John Clague: “My take on this is we just have more and more people going out into the mountains in winter. . . . They're not educated and they don't really know they're putting themselves at risk, so it's kind of inevitable you're going to get more and more incidents.”

    The Vancouver Sun and Epoch TImes also did a story.
  • CanWest News Service looked at the support among women (or the lack of it) for the Stephen Harper government. The story cited a 2002 study co-authored by political science prof Lynda Erickson, noting that during the '90s, women recoiled from the policies of the Reform Party, a precursor of today’s Conservative Party, and moved toward the NDP.

    It ran in National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, Regina Leader-Post, Edmonton Journal, and, closer to home, the Nanaimo Daily News. And Erickson was interviewed by CHQR Radio in Calgary.
  • Economics prof Don DeVoretz, an expert in immigration issues, was in the Globe and Mail, saying the Canada Border Services Agency can’t continue to allow public protests to stop the deportation of paralyzed refugee claimant Laibar Singh. “You can't try and enforce an order and have it rejected indefinitely. It makes them impotent."

    In a Pete McMartin column in The Vancouver Sun on the controversial case DeVoretz said that while he’s a self-proclaimed “old, long-time leftie", he feels Singh's case on humanitarian grounds has absolutely no merit, and the case could set a dangerous precedent.

    DeVoretz was also quoted in a column that ran in the Toronto Sun newspapers in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton and the London (ON) Free Press.

    The Wall Street Journal reported: “The easygoing attitude that has long surrounded marijuana in Canada is under attack.” The story quoted a study by SFU economist Steve Easton that found marijuana was grown in 17,500 homes in BC.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted in a Globe and Mail story on the arrest of an Aldergrove man on charges of murdering two prostitutes in the Fraser Valley.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported the federal government will provide $7.5 million for research into globalization, immigration and diversity at centres across Canada, including Metro Vancouver. The project's Vancouver centre is located at SFU.

  • The Financial Post section of National Post carried a two-part series on the current international financial crises, written by James W. Dean, emeritus prof of economics at SFU. “Our much-touted ‘international financial system’ is now an emperor with no clothes.”

  • Several New Zealand publications and websites, and the Marianas Variety (Micronesia), reported that a small fishing village established 2900 years ago in Tonga has been confirmed as the first settlement in Polynesia. The archaeologist who made the finding: SFU’s David Burley.
  • The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal picked up a feature from The Province on education in mechatronics, focusing on the bachelors program in mechatronic systems engineering at the Surrey campus. “There is a huge demand in industry for people with this education and training," said Farid Golnaraghi, the director of the SFU program who initiated a similar degree at Waterloo. "There is so much demand, these engineers can work anywhere they want."

  • Online, several more video-gaming sites picked up a pre-Christmas Province story that featured the work of pain researcher Diane Gromala, founding director of SFU's BioMedia lab. Gromala, who suffers from chronic pain herself, is working with doctors to learn how virtual reality therapies can give people ways to express and keep track of their pain.


  • The Vancouver Sun featured the development, by a team of fourth-year engineering students at SFU, of a waterproof heart rate monitor that could help lifeguards quickly check the pulse of drowning victims while they're still in the water.

    Quoted was student Bryan Schurko, a lifeguard himself. Also named were classmates Stephen Czerniej, John Azer and Vahid Shababi.

    Schurko and Czerniej were also in the Sun’s photo. The story also ran in the Nanaimo Daily News.
  • The Canadian Press reported on the effort by Richmond RCMP to be “transparent” after a car crash that killed a pregnant woman. Her car was in a collision with an unmarked police cruiser. Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in the story, saying the RCMP have to be scrupulously honest given their "disastrous marketing and public relations image campaign over the last two years." We saw the story in the Brandon (MB) Sun, in two Ontario papers (Sault Star, Orillia Packet and Times) and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. It also ran on CTV.

  • A PAMR news release on a new book, co-authored by associate business prof Brenda Lautsch, drew interest from GlobalTV, the Christy Clark show on CKNW, the Sean Leslie and Cameron Bell show on CKNW, CKNW's World Today show, the BreakfastTV show on CHUM, and Surrey-based OMNI-TV. The book: CEO of Me: Crafting a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age.

  • Gordon Price, SFU City Program director, was in the Maple Ridge News, speaking to the proposals of the “Get Moving BC” lobby group for new bridges over the Fraser. Said Price: “What these guys want to do is continue locking people in to their cars and trucks.” The story also ran in the Langley Times, Tri-City News and Surrey-North Delta Leader.

  • Price was also in The Vancouver Sun in a story on the city’s problems with drug addiction, homelessness and aggressive panhandling.

  • Peter Grimmett, a director at the SFU Institute for Studies in Teacher Education, was interviewed on Early Edition on CBC Radio and on CBC-TV on a problem faced by the Vancouver school board: While parents in affluent Yaletown are lining up to clinch a shortage of elementary school seats for their children, schools in lower-income Strathcona are struggling to attract students to fill their abundance of seats.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that SFU’s senate has postponed a decision on whether to reduce its requirement for students to write four Grade 12 provincial exams to gain admission to the university. SFU's academic vice-president John Waterhouse said the delay will allow a broader discussion in the university.

  • The Vancouver Sun looked at how BC has become “the most mortgage-laden province in the country”, with new buyers typically taking out mortgages with a 40-year term. Andrey Pavlov, associate professor of finance, said there’s nothing wrong with such mortgages per se—but if banks stop offering them, prices would drop.

  • SFU wildlife biologist Alton Harestad was in Vancouver Sun and Province stories on the reduced number of eagles spotted in the 22nd annual Brackendale Bald Eagle Count (893, down from 1,757 last year). He said a declining salmon run is likely the biggest factor—but just because there are fewer eagles in the Squamish corridor doesn't mean they haven't headed to other nearby locations where food is more plentiful.

  • SFU historian Michael Fellman, an expert on American history and politics, is following the U.S. election race in a series of columns for He was also on CFAX Radio in Victoria, and has offered to be available to other news media as the primaries continue. So has political scientist Jean-François Godbout, who specializes in American political institutions, elections, and political behaviour—and can do French-language media as well.

  • The Tri-City News reported that Maria Hamilton, administrative and academic services manager with SFU's Hellenic Studies department, had spent a week in December with a team of specialists to help rebuild the Greece after last summer's fires. (Hamilton was born Maria Hatzigiannakis.) The Canadian convoy was coordinated by Hellenic Studies chair Andre Gerolymatos.

  • Bill Tieleman’s column in 24Hours praised the book Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia, by John Calvert, associate prof and a member of the board of BC Citizens for Public Power. “Did you know that the B.C. Liberal government has undertaken the most massive privatization in Canadian history, worth up to $60 billion?”

  • Martin Laba, director of the school of communication, was also in 24Hours, talking about a YouTube video spoofing the Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. "The video will offend certain sensibilities and for that reason we're giving it our attention. But it's not the kind of product, frankly important enough, that will endure or sustain over time."

  • The Province picked up an SFU news release on how the university been named one of the country's top 10 family-friendly employers by Today's Parent magazine. SFU is the only post-secondary institution and one of two employers in B.C. to make the 2008 list.

  • The Vancouver Sun picked up our release on the senate’s approval this week of a two-week break in classes in February 2010 to accommodate the Winter Olympic Games.

  • And 24Hours used an SFU news release on how Jayanatha Dhanapala, former Sri Lankan ambassador to the U.S. and former UN diplomat, will be the first Simons Visiting Chair in International Law and Human Security. He will teach an undergraduate course on disarmament.

  • The Vancouver Sun featured a BC social worker who has “adopted” six street children in Uganda, taking them into her home there. Quoted in the story was Jennifer Hyndman, associate professor of geography at SFU and a former aid worker, who said small-scale acts of charity like this are “laudable”—but they can also be "tricky."


SFU prof Mark Jaccard was all over the media this week in his role as an energy and greenhouse-gas guru:

  • The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy this week recommended placing a price on CO2 emissions and developing a carbon tax or trading system to target emitters.

    The roundtable’s members include Jaccard, who took several media calls, was on CKNW with Christy Clark and the Almanac show with Mark Forsyth on CBC Radio, and was in National Post, the Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun and the Victoria Times-Colonist.

    Jaccard wrote a guest column in the Edmonton Journal, and another in the Ottawa Citizen—and spoke to the CEOs of Canada's 75 largest companies at the Toronto Club.
  • The Vancouver Sun quoted BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor as saying individual British Columbians need to shoulder more of the burden in the fight against climate change, and that a new tax may be the best way to get people more green. The paper noted Jaccard has recommended a gas tax starting at about 3.5 cents per litre. It would rise to seven cents by 2015 and then about 24 cents by 2030. Vaughn Palmer on CKNW credited Jaccard with the proposal.

  • National Post looked at the “legitimacy” of carbon offset investments which (in theory) allow a buyer to balance its greenhouse-gas emissions by sending money to a seller that uses the money to do some counter-balancing good for the environment.

    Jaccard questioned offset investments in, for example, tree planting in Guatemala or a wind generator in India. “Was the planted tree in Guatemala truly an additional investment in reducing greenhouse gases or would another tree have sprouted in that spot eventually? Does the planted tree represent a permanent increase in biosphere sequestration of carbon or will it be cut down in 10 years' time? Has the Indian wind generator actually helped prevent or delay the construction of a coal-fired power station, or was it simply a wealth transfer to one region in India while the expansion of coal stations has continued at the same pace? We cannot know, because future actions are unknowable."

    The story also ran in the Edmonton Journal and the Montreal Gazette. And Jaccard’s quote was picked up by a down-under columnist in The Australian.
  • Jaccard was also in a feature in the Financial Post section of National Post that began: “Canadians are among the most notorious greenhouse gas producers on Earth, generating CO2 at almost every turn.” It ran in nine papers from Port Alberni to Windsor.

  • And the Vancouver Island edition of Business Examiner, in a story saying B.C.'s goal to get rid of a third of its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 13 years is within reach, noted that Jaccard is a special advisor to the BC government on the issue.


  • The Mission City Record wrote about the nascent Virtual Museum of Canada website on the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre. The site ( was prepared for the Virtual Museum by SFU’s Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and SFU’s Learning and Instructional Development Centre. Project director is SFU museum curator Barbara Winter.


  • The Vancouver Sun featured Bruce Langford, who never played basketball himself, but has led the Clan women's team to three national titles and two undefeated seasons. Twice Canadian Interuniversity Sport coach of the year, he has a glittering 207-34 record at SFU. (He was a student here, too, from 1975 to 1978.)


  • Marketing guru Lindsay Meredith did an hour-long spot with CBC-TV’'s Marketplace show in which, among other things, he criticized Future Shop for its mark-ups on product accessories such as TV cables, etc. The show will air on Wednesday Jan. 19 (4:30 pm) and be repeated on CBC Newsworld at 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturday and on CBC-TV at 9 am Sunday.


  • SFU’s menu of news releases this week also included one telling media about the new faculty of education TV program that is dedicated to in-depth analysis of education issues. Paul Shaker, dean of education, announced that the first episode of the new 30-minute monthly program Your Education Matters will premier at 6:30 pm on Monday, January 21 on ShawTV, Channel 4 in the Lower Mainland. ShawTV will rebroadcast each new episode three times a week: Mondays, 6:30 pm and Sundays 9 am. and 7 pm.

  • As well, SFU told media how SFU has become the first post-secondary institution in North America to achieve Go Green certification from the international Building and Owner Managers Association. SFU’s green initiatives save enough electricity to supply annual light and energy for 1,069 homes. And annual natural gas savings are equivalent to heating 285 homes. CKWX all-news radio quickly ran the story.

  • SFU’s Vancouver campus spread the word about this year’s Munro Lecture: David Ho, AIDS researcher and Time magazine's 1996 Person of the Year, speaks on "AIDS Pandemic and Prospects for Control," Monday, Jan. 21, 7 pm, Harbour Centre. (The event is free, but seating is limited. Reservations: 778.782.5100 or CKNW quickly interviewed him.

  • And we tipped off media to the first public speech to be made by Health Sciences dean John O’Neil next week. O’Neil’s drive to understand why population health varies significantly and how to improve it globally has taken him into some of the world’s most devastated aboriginal and Third World communities.

SFU’s news releases can be seen any time at


  • The Vancouver Sun reported that UniverCity, the residential housing development on the eastern edge of the Burnaby campus, has won the American Planning Association's 2008 National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Green Community Planning. SFU Community Trust led the planning process for UniverCity, which was the only Canadian development recognized.

    And the Burnaby News Leader reported the Trust would pitch a UniverCity rezoning plan to Burnaby city council. It would ask for “a better mix of apartments and townhouses that better suit the needs of those moving to the area." There will still be 3,049 single-family units but the types of dwellings would differ. Planners had thought most residents would be connected to SFU, the paper said, but only 15 per cent are affiliated in some way with the university.
  • CanWest News Service featured Debbie Bell, who has left SFU as director of continuing education to pursue her dream of giving disadvantaged children an educational boost to prepare for kindergarten and beyond. She’s the founder and executive director of the Canadian version of HIPPY, the acronym for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, an internationally acclaimed program that counts Bill and Hillary Clinton among its champions. The feature appeared in The Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist and Montreal Gazette, and on

  • In a letter in The Vancouver Sun, undergraduate student Bryan Gallagher protested: After spending three years and $18,000 dollars on my Bachelor of Business Administration Degree at Simon Fraser University, I've only discussed a green economy for a total of one hour. I'm appalled. . . . Although valuable, not one course is required that looks at green technology, climate change, or a green economy.”

    Prof. Judy Zaichkowsky of Business Administration struck back in a letter: “Perhaps he needs to look around and investigate the professors and courses available. A full concentration on sustainability is being offered to undergraduate honours students this semester at the downtown campus; we teach a business course 449, marketing and society, which investigates how marketing is applied to these issues. There are many more examples of integrating sustainability to the classroom by strong faculty.”
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